New York regularly places voters on inactive status if it believes that the voter has moved, but it does not provide the names of these inactive voters to poll workers at polling locations.  In an opinion last week, Judge Nathan ruled, following a bench trial, that the refusal to maintain the inactive list at polling locations violates the the Equal Protection Clause.

Judge Nathan found that the refusal to provide the inactive list served no legitimate state interest.  The State argued that not having the inactive list would ensure that people vote in the location in which they were registered, but, as Judge Nathan concluded, failed to explain how the practice would “actually advance” that interest.  The State claimed that the practice increased efficiency at the polls, but Judge Nathan found that the practice actually created delays which produced ripple effects that burdened all voters.


Continue Reading Judge Nathan: Refusal to Provide List of Inactive Voters at Polling Locations Serves No Legitimate State Interest

Last week, iconic Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger filed an action against a similarly-named rival.  The defendant, Carl von Luger, operates a steakhouse in Scranton, Pennsylvania, with plans to expand to Florida.  Peter Luger, in business since 1887, claims that the defendant attempted to create a false association between the steakhouse brands.  The complaint includes claims

Last week, Judge Nathan dismissed a challenge by a group of yellow taxi medallion owners to New York City’s regulatory treatment of Uber and similar ride-hailing services.  The plaintiffs alleged that the decision to exempt Uber and its drivers from the requirements imposed on yellow cabs constituted a regulatory taking under the Fifth Amendment and violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause (see our previous coverage here).  Judge Nathan rejected the takings claim as untimely, noting that New York State provided a mechanism for seeking just compensation for a taking, but plaintiffs had not attempted to avail themselves of it.

In response to the plaintiffs’ equal protection claim, Judge Nathan reasoned that the city was justified in separate regulatory regimes for yellow cabs and Uber:
Continue Reading Judge Nathan Tosses Yellow Cabs’ Fifth Amendment Takings Claim Over Uber Regulatory Treatment

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Nathan rejected a complaint brought by federal employees who are set to be located from 26 Federal Plaza to One World Trade Center.  They claim the new lease is illegal, and that the move would harm them because (among other reasons) they fear their new office will be attacked.  Judge Nathan found that these fears were insufficient to establish standing:
Continue Reading Judge Nathan: Government Workers Cannot Sue Over Terrorism Fears Arising from Being Relocated to WTC

This week, Judge Nathan granted summary judgment against a putative class action alleging that the Garamond LC font used by Capital One Bank in its credit card applications was not “clear and conspicuous” as required by the Truth in Lending Act.  The plaintiffs argued that the commentaries to guidance provided by the Consumer Financial Protection

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Nathan remanded to state court a dispute among lenders to the Stuy Town residential development because it did not arise under federal law.  The plaintiffs are junior lenders who allege that certain senior lenders improperly foreclosed, but the senior lenders claim that there was no excess value for the junior lenders.  The dispute as to whether there was excess value or not turns (at least in part) on how a federal post-judgment interest statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1961, applies to the 2010 federal judgment giving rise to the foreclosure. Judge Nathan ruled that the role of § 1961 in the case was not sufficient for federal jurisdiction because it related only to damages, was not essential to any cause of action:
Continue Reading Judge Nathan Remands Stuy Town Lender Dispute Because Federal Questions Related Only to Computation of Damages

In a joint letter to the Court filed yesterday, online TV provider Aereo and the major broadcast networks laid out their positions on the next steps in their litigation following the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of the broadcasters.  Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the battle appears set to rage on before Judge Nathan.

Continue Reading Another Wrinkle in Aereo Case: Did the Supreme Court Turn Aereo Into a Cable Company?

In a case originating from the Southern District (see our prior coverage here), the Supreme Court today ruled 6-3 that Aereo, a company that streams live broadcast television over the internet (with a slight delay) violates the Copyright Act’s “Transmit Clause,” which gives copyright owners the exclusive right to public performance of their work. From Justice Breyer’s majority opinion:
Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Internet TV Service

In an opinion today, Judge Oetken, addressing a question that is unresolved in the Second Court, agreed with a prior opinion of Judge Nathan and ruled that the citizenship of a trust for diversity purposes depends in part on whether the case is brought in the name of the trust itself or in the name of the trustee.  Specifically, after surveying the conflicting authorities, Judge Oetken determined that the “rule is, accordingly, as follows”:

Continue Reading Judge Oetken Explains “Overly Technical,” “Form Over Function” Rules for Citizenship of Trusts in Diversity Cases

In an opinion today, Judge Nathan refused to issue a preliminary injunction that would required Aetna to alter the proxy materials by which it opposes two upcoming shareholder proposals seeking to require Aetna to provide more detail about its political contributions. The complaint alleges that Aetna’s prior opposition to similar proposals falsely claimed that Aetna already provided “robust” and “extensive” disclosure, when, in fact, Aetna omitted or misstated various political donations. Judge Nathan found that the plaintiff could not show “irreparable harm”:
Continue Reading Judge Nathan Refuses to Enjoin Allegedly “Uninformed” Shareholder Vote Relating to Aetna Political Donations